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What's the best way to ship a bass?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by XsSpeed, Feb 23, 2016.


  1. XsSpeed

    XsSpeed

    Sep 14, 2009
    Southern Maryland
    I have an old Kramer XL-24 I thinking of selling but don't want to damage it by trying to ship it. It seems like shipping a neck on bass would cost a fortune but I don't want to limit my target audience to only the DC area. Any advice is appreciated.
     
  2. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    People here ship fully assembled basses every day. It's not cheap but it's not insanely expensive either and no one says you have to pay for it. You can sign up for a supporting membership, list your bass in the classifieds, and charge the buyer shipping.
     
  3. XsSpeed

    XsSpeed

    Sep 14, 2009
    Southern Maryland
    Perfect thanks
     
  4. Mike_1978

    Mike_1978

    May 14, 2015
    Boston area
    Can anyone provide some more information on shipping basses?

    • Where do you find boxes that will fit a bass?
    • What's the best service to use (USPS, FedEx, etc.)?
    • Tips on how to pack and pad it for minimum damage?
    • What kind of price ranges are we talking about for US shipping (e.g., if I'm selling something on TB, how much should I add for shipping--$20? $200?)
    I have several basses I'm getting ready to sell, never had to ship them before.

    Thanks!
     
  5. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Your local guitar center gets shipments twice a week. Just find out when and at what time so you can get a box before they toss them.

    I prefer fedex for reliability and price. Sign up for an account. You can take the box to a FedEx store and charge it to your account rather than paying for it on the spot and it's cheaper that way. It's apparently even cheaper to weigh, measure, and print out the label yourself.

    If you're packing just a bass, lots of bubble wrap. All over. Pack and pad the box as if it'll be tossed around, because it will be. Don't assume labeling the box "fragile" will make a difference. The same applies with a gigbag or case. Just pack as if the box will get thrown down a flight of stairs. More padding is better than less.

    From New York to California it's generally somewhere in the $50 range for me. Sometimes more depending on the weight. You can specify in the sale thread that the buyer pays shipping, then box it up and take it to wherever to ship to get an exact quote. I've done it enough times to be able to ball park a figure and I have the buyer pay for it. I'm usually only a few dollars plus or minus the actual figure.
     
    Mike_1978 likes this.
  6. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Oh, and I always ask if the buyer wants the package to require a signature. Where I live, I wouldn't want a five foot/30 pound box left at my front door and a delivery driver may or may not leave it depending on his mood. But I live in the most densely populated city in the country. Lots of people live in places where they'd be fine with it and wouldn't want a signature.
     
    Mike_1978 and XsSpeed like this.
  7. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    I usually use the USPS. Make sure you get insurance and bear in mind that there will be a surcharge if your box is over a certai size..
    So for this example say you had a box that was 50"x13"x12" using the above info the total dimensions would be 50+26+12=88 . If the total calculation is higher than 108" the cost of shipping can be double.. or more.. so try to keep the total down to 108 or less.. Sometimes a box you get from GC will be the right size.. but sometimes you may have to cut it down.. depending on the bass. I usually ship basses in cases or gig bags but there have been instances where I just sent the bass in a box.. In those cases I have used a lot of packaging.. bubble wrap or paper.. to make sure the bass is secure. I have used styrofoam from other purchases.. Use common sense.
     
    Mike_1978 likes this.
  8. hopsbb

    hopsbb

    Nov 8, 2014
    I recently shipped an Epiphone Thunderbird and found out the hard way about the 108 inch rule. Shipping was gonna be $106. I took it home contacted the buyer told them I'd have to take the neck off and ship it that way. They agreed to it so I did. Shipped both neck and body for $35 or so. Way cheaper that route.
     
    Mike_1978 likes this.
  9. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    The balloon charge is ridiculous. I've brought a big box to the post office. They tell me "it's $35 to ship, oh and there's this $90 balloon fee. Now is that gonna be cash or credit?"
     
  10. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    Yeah that is why I always o the math myself before I get there.. and they always calculate it up... 5.5" winds up being 51".. I have saved myself lots on occasion by trimming the box but when I get a bocx that is the right size I just usually save it for that day when I am shipping something.
     
  11. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    Do not use a 'UPS' store. They are independently owned and operated, and free to mark up UPS fees as much as they want.

    FedEx Ship Centers are more reasonable. Better yet, open up a FedEx account on-line. Many trade organizations and fraternal groups get discounted rates, so check on that when you open an account. I ship basses with insurance for $35~$50. When you have an account, you pack it at home, weigh it, and print your own label.

    To pack it, I suggest adding some bubble wrap inside so the bass doesn't jiggle around. And add some bubble wrap around the hard sided case before slipping it in the shipping box (if there is room).

    When shipping, consider having the package held at a FedEx location nearest the buyers home so the bass doesn't sit by their back door all day, and if a sig is required, the buyer may miss it anyway if they are at work.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
    XsSpeed likes this.
  12. rmayer

    rmayer Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2008
    Boynton Beach, FL
    I've been using FedEx for years, very happy with them. Finally got an account, now I just print my own shipping label and go online and set up a pickup. Don't even have to leave my house. Except to buy boxes, and by the way, FedEx now sells a guitar/bass box. It's 51X20X8. Cost is $19.95, more expensive than Uline if you order 5 at a time, but if you need just one, it's good in a pinch. UPS's box is huge, something like 12" deep. Their only problem is if you're not shipping in a hard case, they might not insure it for over $1000 or $1500.
     
    Mike_1978 and XsSpeed like this.
  13. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    You can also double box with the inner box bubble wrapped (even if the bass is in its own hard sided case). Some retailers do this as added protection.
     
  14. Mike_1978

    Mike_1978

    May 14, 2015
    Boston area
    Thanks for the great tips everyone! :)
     
    XsSpeed and Killed_by_Death like this.
  15. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    My (limited) experience with shipping basses has been in Fender shipping cartons from GC. I mostly use USPS Priority with insurance and tracking. I think the last one was around $75?

    I've also been at a UPS store and watched them pack a 12 string flat top. Wrapped in bubble wrap in to a box about half full of peanuts, the dump more in to fill the box, and taped up tight.
     

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